This statement might sound a little weird but it is a fact that colonisation of Goa by the Portuguese was much milder compared to the British rule all over India and thus perhaps Goans remained under the Portuguese rule for more than four and a half centuries. Goans were much happier compared to the rest of the Indians as they were not suppressed by the Portuguese rulers and given equal right and status.
Even after 57 years of freedom from the clutches of the Portuguese, Goans reminisce the times of struggle for liberation. After 451 years of being under the rule of Portuguese, Goa breathed the air of freedom on 19th December 1961.
The bloodshed and lives lost and final gasp for freedom, all these moments will forever be imprinted in the pages of Goa’s history. This moment was one to be cherished by every Goan, for the fact that they were finally free after 4 and half centuries of colonialism, the longest a state has ever been.
Although it might seem that Goa had been under oppression for a long time, considering accounts of other colonized states- the situation of Goa was quite different. The state was not really oppressed by Portuguese compared to the rest of the country under the British rule. Goans had almost equal rights and many Portuguese married to Goan natives.
It did not compensate for the fact that Goa was under their rule and Portuguese forcefully exerted domination on the state and its resources. They converted Hindus to Catholics and massacred Muslims till there was no significant percentage of them left in the State.
Portuguese were the last to leave India; they turned the state into a mini-Portugal territory. It was rather a slow and diplomatic way that Portuguese laid their dominance. According to an article by UCA news, they called this, ‘silent ethnic cleansing’.
A considerable amount of influence of Portuguese affected Goan culture. Due to this, a significant per cent of Hindu traditions and culture was forgotten and many Hindus were forcefully converted to Catholics.
Goa remained silent during the struggle for rest of the country to Independence but soon after the country was freed from the hold of British rule, Goans were inspired and started revolting against Portuguese. After a bloody battle with over 50 people killed, Goa was finally a bird flying its way to freedom.
The influence of Portuguese can be witnessed many ways in the Goan culture- from food to buildings to even lifestyle. But it does not lessen the fact that Goans were Indians and had moulded their indigenous culture into their heritage. The lifestyle of Goa is much well-known for its laid-back and joyous nature.
Many had mixed reactions regarding the Liberation of the state. According to Newsclick, some were overwhelmed by this decision and were happy that they finally could taste freedom and others felt that Goa would be much better under the Portuguese rule as they felt if Goa is freed; it would be colonized under India. It was known that Goa was much different from other parts of India, with its culture and lifestyle that was largely alike Portuguese.
Many Goans feared that this liberation might leave Goa with no identity in spite, this tiny state having such a rich heritage. Some expressed their grief towards the lost opportunity of Goa, getting a special status.
The hander over of Macau in 1999 granted it a special autonomy and has got its own flag and currency. Some felt that if Goa was still under Portugal rule, they too would have had got its perks.
One could not argue about this, as people have different perspectives. Fortunately, the relation between India and Portuguese is quite well and the provision for Goa-Portuguese passports has helped Goans very much.
Now, Goa is one of the richest and developed states with a unique culture and has an essence of its own. These attributes of Goa, has it made it likeable than ever with people all over the world flocking to this state.